India’s rabi sowing crosses 250 lakh hectares

Total area sown with winter crops (Rabi) in India reached at 251 lakh hectares so far, about 10 per cent lower than the 276.83 lakh hectares planted in the corresponding week last year. According to the latest rabi sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry, there is a substantial shortfall in the planting of gram and maize, particularly.

Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are among the major gram-cultivating states that have reported a significant drop in gram acreage. The gram sowing area in Madhya Pradesh has shrunk to 14.07 lakh hectares as against 26.54 lakh hectares in the same week last year.

In Maharashtra, the area under gram cultivation currently is about 1.25 lakh hectares as compared to 5.63 lakh hectares in the same period. Rajasthan, which has been able to put to good use the heavy rains it received during the monsoon season, on the other hand, has reported almost a 50 per cent increase in pulses sowing. As against 11.34 lakh hectares sown till this time last year, the area covered under pulses in Rajasthan is 16.18 lakh hectares till this week.

The sowing of lentil too has been affected in many areas with the sown area reported at 8.44 lakh hectares, about 17 per cent lower than last year. Overall, pulses sowing is down by 19 per cent to 71.26 lakh hectares till this week.

Wheat sowing, on the other hand, is progressing well in most States. While the sown area is up in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, it is marginally lower in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. So far wheat has been sown on 96.77 lakh hectares, a little lower than the 99.64 lakh hectares in the corresponding week last year.

Coarse cereals planting too has been hit with the reported sown area down by 11% as compared to the corresponding week last year. As against 24 lakh hectares planted last year, planting has taken place only on 21.33 lakh hectares so far. The major crop affected was maize, whose sown area remained at 3.49 lakh hectares as against 5.28 lakh hectares in the same week last year.

Among oilseeds, mustard/rapeseed sowing is down by nearly 5 per cent to 50.71 lakh hectares as compared to 53.62 lakh hectares planted in the same week last year. The total area sown with oilseeds till this week was 54.88 lakh hectares as against 58.07 lakh hectares last year. At 6.8 lakh hectares, rice planting remained more or less same as last year, even though Tamil Nadu reported a substantial increase in rice sowing. But planting is down in many states, including Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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